Alcatraz Island
Alcatraz Island
4.5
About
Alcatraz Island was once the most secure federal prison in the U.S., and held notorious inmates like Al Capone. After being decommissioned in 1963, the prison is now a museum, welcoming millions of curious travelers every year. Catch the ferry on Pier 33 to Alcatraz and explore the island at your own pace as you soak up the views of San Francisco and the bay. You can take a guided tour with a park ranger to learn more about the intriguing anecdotes about the facility’s fascinating history. But book your spots early—tickets sell out fast. – Tripadvisor
Duration: 2-3 hours
Suggest edits to improve what we show.
Improve this listing
Tours & experiences
Explore different ways to experience this place.
What is Travelers’ Choice Best of the Best?
This award is our highest recognition and is presented annually to those businesses that are the Best of the Best on Tripadvisor, those that earn excellent reviews from travelers and are ranked in the top 1% of properties worldwide.
Top ways to experience Alcatraz Island
See what travelers are saying
  • Ness W
    Sittingbourne, United Kingdom282 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Gal we did it !!
    Absolutely great day, was worried due to my husband’s mobility issues but it was all great.there was a little tram to take people with mobility issues up to the prison they had lifts inside so he was able to see the whole place. The audio guide was brilliant. We ordered a hot dog which we eat on the boat coming back. All in All a great trip so worth seeing the prison.
    Visited March 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written April 18, 2023
  • joanie30735
    Dalton, Georgia3,896 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    A must to visit when in San Francisco!!
    Bought our tickets online weeks before we went. Good thing we did! They were completely sold out when we arrived for our 11am scheduled tour. We bought our parking in advance to and only parked 4 blocks from pier 33. The boat ride over was very nice! NOT crowded and they told some history of Alcatraz. On the Island itself we enjoyed ourselves! Taking our own time learning things! We loved the audio tour! Definitely do NOT miss that!! We spent about 3 hours here and enjoyed every moment! Great family time and learning history together!!
    Visited April 2023
    Traveled with family
    Written April 19, 2023
  • BrummieMo
    Birmingham, United Kingdom93 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Chilling Iconic Site
    Thoroughly enjoyed this trip to this iconic place. The ferry trip over is excellent and the island itself very interesting. It is a chilling place and you really wouldn't have wanted to have been incarcerated there. Views from the island back to San Francisco are great.
    Visited April 2023
    Written April 30, 2023
  • Anna-Lena
    Frankfurt, Germany9 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very fascinating trip to a historical icon
    We loved the boat trip from Fishermen's Wharf and the lovely view of San Francisco. The island itself is an iconic landmark that is dedicated to give you an insight in the old times and famous prisoners such as Al Capone and many more. The coolest part was to see the real cells and the walking areas that the prisoners used long time ago. Everything is very well prepared and informative.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled with friends
    Written May 1, 2023
  • HoustonScott
    76 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Take the tour
    Very good tour. Be sure you purchase tickets in advance because they sell out quickly. Wear comfortable shoes and take a jacket as it gets cold although we did the night tour. The ride over and back on the boat takes about 15 minutes. The people who work there are very knowledgeable and helpful.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 5, 2023
  • Summershiraz
    Warrington, United Kingdom179 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Absolute “must do” if in San Francisco
    Booked online before we travelled to San Francisco and spent half a day with Alcatraz Island Tours exploring the island. A short boat trip to the island. What a great opportunity. Definitely a worthwhile experience.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 6, 2023
  • momandarmywife
    Atlanta, Georgia20 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Evening tour - great time!
    We enjoyed the self-guided audio tour but really loved the stories John told us. The national park service is amazing! Impressed with how they teach about the failings of our country's prison system too.
    Visited April 2023
    Written May 6, 2023
  • Kirash
    Palmerston North, New Zealand14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    I did escape
    I booked for the 11 am boat and came back on 2pm boat. Very short boat trip to the island on a beautiful sunny day. When you arrive there is an orientation talk and after that our guide did a walking tour for about 45 mins. I don't think they are always available but I would have missed so much if I hadn't done it. The audio tour of the jail house takes about 45 mins. The hospital was open and was very interesting. I think if I'd only had the audio tour it would have been a bit underwhelming. It is pricey and busy as they can have 5000 people per day.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled solo
    Written May 13, 2023
  • 5cindy
    Fort Myers Beach, Florida55 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Very interesting and informative tour.
    The ferry trip to the island was great with wonderful views of San Francisco and the Golden Gate Bridge. Liked the narrated tour. The gardens were my favorite part. Disappointed that the hospital was not open during the day. Park ranger said due to staffing, it is usually only open for night tours.
    Visited May 2023
    Written May 18, 2023
  • Wikumj
    Bromley, United Kingdom327 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Best tourist attraction in SF
    Easily the standout tourist attraction in SF. You arrange a time for a ferry boat, then after a short 15 minute ride (drinks and snacks available to Biu on board) you arrive at the island and are free to explore. The main highlight on the island is the prison cell tour - this self guided audio tour is fantastically well done, interesting, informative, with a clear path through the building. So interesting to learn about conditions in the prison, it’s more notorious inhabitants, and in particular the prison break attempt. There is also a really interesting exhibit at the moment on mass incarceration in the USA - very eye opening. We stayed for about two hours on the island before getting a ferry back.
    Visited May 2023
    Traveled as a couple
    Written May 18, 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

Most Recent: Reviews ordered by most recent publish date in descending order.

Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as wait time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles56,187 reviews
Excellent
42,160
Very good
11,486
Average
1,972
Poor
294
Terrible
278

Peter Z
Guelph, Canada91 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
The ferry ride is short and you walk uphill to the prison. The tour with headsets is excellent. The prison cells are scary to see, small and cold. Some of the cells could have been cleaner. You get to stay on the lower level, there are cells three rows high. Capone and Kelly have their names there. The dining hall is cool as is the play yard. Solitary confinement is not for everyone. Overall a good tour.
Written April 15, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Gvipin
Auckland, New Zealand230 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
Good, if on a tour as a tourist to San Francisco. Enjoyed and will recommend, if one has time but is not much do. Took the morning tour and if on a holiday can/should visit.
Written April 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Exploration814414
3 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
Loved every inch of this trip to Alcatraz Island. The boat trip, the views and especially the history behind the prison walls were all excellent in gaining an understanding of prison life.

Well worth a visit. Highly recommended.
Written April 13, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

BOWLEGS M
East Stroudsburg, PA32 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Friends
it was a great tour. very interesting and listening to the narration with personal earphones gave you the sense of being there in the cell with the inmate it was a great tour.
Written April 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

kirstyb294
Epsom, UK14 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Family
When visiting San Francisco this is a must do, I was visiting with my husband and my 10yo daughter and they LOVED it! the views from the boat were awsome as you could see the skyline and Golden Gate Bridge. The audio tour was great and intresting plus there were more things to read and see around Alcatraz island. But lacking info on some of the deatails like houw the 3 prisionors escaped. Other than that, it was a great tour and learnt a lot about history
Written April 10, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sarah G
Harrogate, UK1,538 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
We did the night tour and the tour was a bit disappointing, didn't need to spend long there as audio guide felt like it rushed you and not much extra stuff to look at. The views of the city though out and on the way back were great - make sure you go out in the light and come back at night.
Written April 6, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rosie
Adelaide, Australia10 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
A must when visiting SF. Highly recommend the sunset cruise as you get amazing views from the island! The audio tour was great.
Written April 2, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

AlexTheJock
Wigston, UK2,152 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
My wife and I, and our two long-time friends, all of us in our mid-sixties visited this historical place after arriving in San Francisco off a cruise ship, and it was such a poignant experience that we’re so glad that we took the time to visit.

The ferries are so frequent that even though we just missed one as we were buying our tickets, it wasn’t long before another had pulled in, and during our wait we took a look at the excellent large scale model and all of the other explanatory bits of information dotted around the waiting area.

The ferry trip over to the island was very calm and I managed to take some great photos of the bay, the island, the city and Golden Gate Bridge.

We were soon on the island, and as the buggy wasn’t being used by anyone else we decided to ride this up the hill to the main cell block and save our legs. It’s a long walk up this very steep hill and I would advise anyone to take the buggy up, which also gives you the most amount of time to explore this historical site.

At the top we went straight into the main cell house to pick-up the audio guides. I would advise you to do this as it’s just a really good way of finding out what you are looking at, and it gives a real in depth view of the history of the place. We didn’t have to wait long to pick up this free guide as the system they had in place to hand them out operated very well.

Walking around the cell block is quite extraordinary, and even although there are lots of other people around it felt as if the ghosts of inmates were amongst you as well. The audio guides add to this spooky feeling. It is just a very affecting encounter.

Once we had toured the cell block, which took us around an hour, we spent just short of another hour walking around the remainder of the island and making our way back down the hill, on foot this time, to get the ferry back. We were on the island for around two hours, and with the wait for the ferries and the ride to and from the island it took around three hours of our day, but it was totally worth the effort and we wouldn’t have missed it.
Written March 31, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

DREW R
Glasgow, UK351 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Dec 2023 • Solo
Fabulous. Had a great time. Well worth visiting. Fixed departure time from SF but can spend as long as you want on Alcatraz. Just make sure you get last boat back
Amazing how they operate the cell doors. Take the audio guide and follow it in order.
Written March 28, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

silverfoxMuscat
Alcacer do Sal, Portugal64 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2023 • Couples
The visit lived up to the films I have watched on prisoners' lives on the island and stories of the famous escape by three prisoners
Written March 21, 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Showing results 1-10 of 42,120
Is this your Tripadvisor listing?
Own or manage this property? Claim your listing for free to respond to reviews, update your profile and much more.
Claim your listing

ALCATRAZ ISLAND: All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (with Photos)

Frequently Asked Questions about Alcatraz Island

According to Tripadvisor travelers, these are the best ways to experience Alcatraz Island:




All San Francisco HotelsSan Francisco Hotel DealsLast Minute Hotels in San Francisco
All things to do in San Francisco
Day Trips in San Francisco
RestaurantsFlightsTravel StoriesCruisesRental Cars